BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Embracing a joyously retro-generated vibe of all things bursting with rainbows, unicorns, NES, comic books, and Michael Ironside, Turbo Kid laser blasts its way onto blu-ray with the single mission to – as the late Rowdy Roddy Piper once famously adlibbed – "kick ass and chew bubblegum" and, yes, the kid in Turbo Kid is fresh out of bubblegum. This is the film to run to if you long for the glory days of kids-themed entertainment that once produced the fantasy flicks that fueled our imagination in the neon glow of yesteryear.
Written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell, the highly imaginative post-apocalyptic throwback achieves EVERYTHING it sets out to do. To put it as plainly as I can, there is no way in hell you will be let down by the exuberantly charming tale inside Tubo Kid if your heart is still intact and ready for 8-bit adventure. It is a certifiable low-budget blast of saccharin sweetness mixed with a healthy dab of over-the-top gore.
As imagined by the filmmakers, this alternative look at a wasted 1997 involves a lonely young man (Munro Chambers) who scavenges his way through a sort of bleak existence after the apocalypse has set in. Amongst all the Walkman cassette players, wired headphones, Turbo Man comics, and BMX bike parts, he squeaks out his existence as safely as he can. There is no gas; everyone gets around on bikes and, with very little uncontaminated water readily available, everyone has gone Mad Max with thirst.
When a bubbly girl named Apple (a scene-stealing Laurence Leboeuf who helps lift the overall spirit of the movie straight into the stratosphere) and a gruff arm-wrestling antihero (Aaron Jeffery, riffing a bit on Indiana Jones with his stubble, leather jacket, and hat) enter into his life and force a showdown with the ruthless Zeus (Michael Ironside) and his masked cronies, his mouse-like existence grows gigantic as he discovers just what it takes to be a fully-charged superhero amongst the ruins of his previous life. With no budget and no real stars (save for an almost unrecognizable Ironside), Turbo Kid is the anti-Hollywood answer to another dull weekend of predictable studio releases.
Dealing out its laughs alongside a hefty amount of cartoon violence, Turbo Kid is a wild ride through an alternative future (set in 2007) that delivers a natural sweetness long fallen out of favor with current filmmakers striving for the realistic approach to fantasy. This is BMX Bandits by way of Mad Max and the vintage throwback within its antics works so incredibly well at massaging no-budget thrills that you will wish more artists in the film business were this inspired by vintage cult favorite flicks.
The film is breath of fresh air in a saturated market of brainless entertainment. It never comes across as condescending to the audience – even when Apple reveals what we already suspect about her – and sparks a positive jolt of electricity from beginning to end. You will smile as you recognize some of the moments that it pays homage to from classic films (Temple of Doom, Big Trouble in Little China and so on) and cheer when it goes completely gonzo and shoots for the moon in an over-the-top atom-splitting finale ripped right out of Capcom's iconic Mega Man video game.
Nothing about Turbo Kid is believable or that original and yet everything about its nostalgic vibe is 8-bit greatness worthy of your time.
MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell
Writer: François Simard, Anouk Whissell
Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside
Genre: Sci-fi | Adventure
Tagline: The apocalypse has left the future in a permanent nuclear winter. The year is 1997.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You did good Turbo Kid. Now when you watch the sky at night, I'll be there"
Distributor: Epic Pictures Releasing
Release Date: August 28, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 26, 2016
Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a comic book fan dons the persona of his favourite hero to save his enthusiastic friend and fight a tyrannical overlord.
Available on Blu-ray - August 26, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set (1 BD, 2 DVDs); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A
Finally issued on blu-ray, Turbo Kid and its refreshingly cool b-grade swagger makes its debut in high-def with a 3-disc collector's set that is released by Epic Pictures. The 1080p transfer (with an MPEG-4 AVC encode) is a total feast for the eyes and the ears. Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, colors – even the neon – absolutely sparkle with clarity. Nothing about this production screams low-budget and yet that's exactly what it is. It's nice then to have this level of quality from the blu-ray. Back levels are solid and provide a depth that suggests long shadows and deep edges. There are no noticeable issues with digital distractions, a fact you'll appreciate during the big climax. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offers an impressive presentation of the sound, a key element to the feel of the film. Dialogue is crisp and clear, coming mainly from the center channel, while the film's atmospheric score gets a boost from the surrounds, blanketing appropriately.
- All three directors weigh in on an excellent commentary that fans will truly love.
Fans are definitely not short-changed with this supersized release. While the best feature by far is the commentary, the making-of is also a nice touch. The content includes the original short film, a solid retrospective, a collection of mini-docs about the genre, the gore, the stunts, the humor, the star, his companion, and the villain; all our worth your time. A DVD copy is also included.
- Bloody Wasteland: The Making of Turbo Kid (24 min.)
- T Is For Turbo (original short) (6 min.)
- Mini Docs: Fantasia, Gore, Stunt, Funny, The Kid, Apple, Zeus
- Festival Introductions
- Still Galleries
- Official Trailer